High Jump
Credit: SD Dirk on flickr / Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic

Raising the bar (and keeping it high)

Why I'm impressed with InfoBarrel

I've only been writing on InfoBarrel for about a month. I still have much to learn about the site, but I'm thoroughly impressed by the quality of the work I've read so far. Furthermore, InfoBarrel has made me a better writer.

How? Their commitment to high quality. Sometimes my articles are approved the first time I submit them for publish, but many times I've been sent the following response:

Unfortunately your article has been denied publication on InfoBarrel.com

Reason for denial: 

Article needs additional formatting to make it understandable to your readers. Please take a look at your paragraphs, capitalization and punctuation and make the necessary adjustments. You can find your denied article on your My Content page under the Denied Articles tab. Please feel free to submit your work again after you have made the appropriate changes. 

The InfoBarrel Team 

Trust me, this is a good thing. Each time I reviewed my work, I've always found ways to improve it. (I read it aloud to my cat). Eventually, everything I've submitted (so far) has been approved and published on InfoBarrel.

Avoid my mistakes...

Englishtown, New Jersey (2013)
Credit: Shawn Perez - Hypnotica Studios on flickr / Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic

Capitalize every word in your title

Keep your article in Text Elements

Initially, I used lowercase for prepositions in my titles, however my article was denied. (And once denied, you need to resubmit it to the editorial queue which can take another day until it gets approved and published). This is my first tip: capitalize every word in your title.

My next tip: be sure your article is written in "Text" elements. I love to use photos, whenever possible. On InfoBarrel there is a text window which also appears underneath every photo that you upload. On a few occasions, I've kept writing my article in these sections. I believe the font is smaller in these sections too.

Shown next is a screenshot of this area so you'll understand what I'm referring to.

Image Element screenshot...

With a new Text Element added underneath it:

Screenshot of area under Image Element
Credit: RoseWrites on InfoBarrel / All rights reserved.

Self-serving links...

Outbound links is a better way to look at these:

I remember adding hyperlinks to reputable government sites and organizations and being taken aback that I had "more than two self-serving links" in my article. 

Don't panic.

The template on InfoBarrel is set up a little differently. You have a method to insert your references in a bibliography which will be listed at the end of your article. I believe this looks both credible and more professional.

Example of a bibliography...

Just click on References tab (beside Elements)

Screenshot of my cat behaviors article bibliography
Credit: RoseWrites on InfoBarrel / All rights reserved.

As-you-write word count & keyword density

In my next screenshot, you can clearly see the four tabs shown on the right hand side of your template. What I found a little shocking (at first) was the "Stats" tab - which automatically turns red if you use a keyword or phrase often.

It even registers the exact percentage of your keyword density and total word count.

When I wrote my 10_Interesting_Cat_Behaviours article, I was panicked by the number of times "cat" appeared. So, I inserted "feline" many times (and yet the density percentage was still high for the term cat). But, once I finished my page, the red "Stats" button returned to normal.

So, keep writing . . don't do too many fixes as you go. You'll have plenty of time to save and preview your work at the end.

Elements, References, Images, & Stats

Word Count and Keyword Density Issues screenshot:

Tabs, Stats, and Keyword Density screenshot
Credit: RoseWrites on InfoBarrel / All rights reserved.

Getting set-up...

Paypal, Google Analytics, Amazon products

Intially, I thought I required an Adsense Publisher ID. You don't. Kevin explained, "You actually don't need an AdSense ID here anymore.  Your ads will be managed by our own IB Ads System and you'll be paid directly from IB.  All you need to do is make sure you have your Paypal account."

After you successfully publish 10 articles on InfoBarrel, you can set up Google Analytics. There's a place in your account settings to put the UA-8 digit-1 number. Admin takes care of the rest to ensure all your pages are tracked.

Amazon products are easy to add, you only need to insert the URL number. I always write a little blurb about the product I'm promoting. Since I never had an affiliate number before, I applied for my "Unique Associates ID" (which was approved immediately).

The process of signing up with InfoBarrel talks you through all of this. The main thing to remember is you no longer need an AdSense ID anymore.

Every writer is an equal on InfoBarrel

I have DebW07 (aka Introspective) to thank for introducing me to InfoBarrel. She's been on InfoBarrel about as long as I've been on Squidoo.

There certainly are advantages to both platforms - and they are entirely different.

Socially, I feel InfoBarrel has a healthier business model. You are paid based on the traffic to your articles and through related ads. Every writer on InfoBarrel benefits from others being successful too. There is no "rank" system in place (which breeds a competitive atmosphere).

1) The payout is more generous on InfoBarrel. You receive 75% of the revenue share (which can increase to 90% if you write often and get the points).

2) Every article you write can be submitted for a homepage feature (I've had three so far). There are no titles assigned (nor taken away) from writers. 

3) An editorial calendar is posted a month ahead of time (spanning a wide variety of topics, similar to a newspaper). No topic appears to dominate it.

4) NEW (as of February 4th, 2014): InfoBarrel is trying out Pets & Animals as a main site category. They've added it to their editorial calendar and are promoting featured articles on both Facebook and Twitter. (They plan to roll it out in other areas too).

5) InfoBarrel has a "no multiple accounts" policy.

Advantages of writing on Squidoo

1. Immediacy - you can publish right away, view and promote your work. InfoBarrel generally takes less than 24 hours to approve articles.
2. Easier to add numerous Amazon products on Squidoo. On IB you need at least 200 words written per Amazon product you are showcasing.
3. If you are into crafting, knitting, or cooking, Squidoo's new format lenses make these types of pages faster to write, imo.
4. Clubs - for certain niches, it probably helps a great deal to belong to a Squidoo club.
5. Background themes - the coffee theme on Squidoo was my favorite.

Article scores and traffic vs. reads

Lots more information provided on InfoBarrel:

When I published my first article on InfoBarrel, the first thing I asked Deb about was the number shown in a green box beside my title. Deb explained it was my current article score (these numbers increase with time and traffic, I find). If you get a 55, it doesn't mean you "barely passed." Mine usually start out in the 60 - 66 range.

Last year, InfoBarrel introduced article scores (and only authors can see them). For more in-depth about how these numbers are determined, admin wrote Introducing_Scoring_For_Articles.

On Squidoo, I'd sometimes get a wave of traffic but I had no idea if the visitors actually read through my page or not. What I like about InfoBarrel is I can see how many "views" and "reads" my work has received. This is extremely helpful for determining the type of content your audience wants. Again, only authors can see these numbers. See screenshot next.


Two of my first three articles on InfoBarrel

(The red star indicates homepage features).

My first three articles on InfoBarrel showing number of reads and views
Credit: RoseWrites on InfoBarrel / All rights reserved.

Find out exactly who is linking to your work

I was amazed to find out that on InfoBarrel, we can check out who links to our pages. And, whether these are "do follow" or "no follow" links. It makes life so much easier when filing reports for Google. See screenshot next.

No guess work involved...

Backlinks data on InfoBarrel
Credit: RoseWrites on InfoBarrel / All rights reserved.

Want to move content to InfoBarrel?

It's easy...

Somehow, I thought transferring my content would be laborious and time consuming. It isn't at all (at least not on InfoBarrel).

I asked admin about this when I first signed up. Kevin responded, "As long as you made sure to remove your stuff from Squidoo before you publish them here, there shouldn't be a problem.  If it does get denied for duplicate content (stuff gets missed on occasion), let me know and I'll take a look for you.  You can do the transfer as fast or as slow as you'd like."

I do recommend waiting at least 24 hours (since I hit the duplicate content filter on one of the pages I moved from Squidoo). Admin cleared it within a day, however.


InfoBarrel has a human advantage

No matter how many automated filters are in place, nothing beats having an editorial team. This is why I feel InfoBarrel is a leading platform for writers.

Each page is reviewed and the date of publish is also displayed publicly. If any edits are made, the page is resubmitted to the editorial queue for approval first. (The date of the last edit is also displayed).

Another protective measure that InfoBarrel has is their limit of 2 self-serving (outbound) links within an article. Additionally, pages must not have external links in the first paragraph.

On InfoBarrel,  if there are too many keywords (or keyword phrases), your page will not publish. And there is no way someone can keyword stuff or embed links later to trick search engines (since every edit requires approval).

Lastly, InfoBarrel has safeguarded it's platform from sockpuppets with their "no multiple accounts" policy.

Yeah, I'm impressed. 

Uploaded in 2010 (only Paypal is needed now)

But I thought you might want to see Ryan McKenzie's cat:

A more recent interview with Ryan McKenzie

Published January 31st, 2013